The Phillies start a four-day series against the Pirates today in Pittsburgh. In 2001, the Pirates moved into PNC Park, a beautiful new stadium built on the Allegheny River that has amazing views of the Pittsburgh skyline. I myself have never been to PNC Park, but the shots of it I see on TV make me want to move to Pittsburgh. The skyline looks amazing, and the gorgeous yellow bridges in the background really sparkle.
Yet, as amazing as PNC Park looks, the place has been nothing but trouble for the Phillies. From 2001 through 2009, the Phillies have played 28 games in Pittsburgh and have lost 17 of them, good for a .393 winning percentage.
Conversely, the Pirates have a .607 winning percentage against the Phillies when the Pirates are at home. What's amazing about this number is that the Pirates, against all other MLB teams, have a .481 winning percentage at home between 2001 and 2009. At home during this time period, the Pirates have had better success against only a few other NL teams -- the Marlins (.679), the Brewers (.632), and the Rockies (.618).
As for the Phillies, to answer the question posed by the title of this post, what could be better than four days in Pittsburgh is four days anywhere else in the NL . . . other than Los Angeles. Here's a chart of the Phillies' home record since 2001 at NL cities:
|San Diego Padres||21||8||0.724|
|St. Louis Cardinals||20||12||0.625|
|New York Mets||47||40||0.540|
|San Francisco Giants||14||18||0.438|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||12||19||0.387|
Given the state of the Phillies' health right now, this trip to Pittsburgh could be quite perilous.
As an addendum to the original post, based on an inquiry in the comments, I looked at the difference between Phillies' home and road records since 2001 against each NL team. The chart below shows that the Phillies have the worst win percentage differential from home to road since 2001 against the Pirates. They've won at a .724 rate against the Pirates in Philadelphia, but only a .393 rate in Pittsburgh:
|Team||Away %||Home %||Diff|
|San Diego Padres||0.724||0.545||0.179|
|New York Mets||0.540||0.488||0.052|
|St. Louis Cardinals||0.625||0.581||0.044|
|San Francisco Giants||0.438||0.643||-0.205|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||0.387||0.655||-0.268|